Be very wary of ‘the people’

“The people” of Cuba repudiating the Mariel exodus in 1980

Below is my translation of a post published this Thursday in the blog Emanaciones by Cuban writer Juan Abreu, a “Marielito” and friend of Reinaldo Arenas who lives in Spain. Abreu no tiene pelos en la lengua and is often caustic and irreverent. He subscribes to a phrase by Arenas on which I posted earlier, which translates as “I have not come here to be respectful.”

Naturally, he is appalled by the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias and its woeful dysfunction, and he has long been beyond appalled by the situation in Cuba (which he calls la pavorosa, the dreadful one). Thus, what follows may offend and is certainly provocative. I do not necessarily feel the same way, but it is food for thought:

Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the dictatorship in Cuba is not the Castro family and the murderers who serve it—the dictatorship is the Cuban people. The Cuban people are Castro. Without the Cuban people there is no Castro. That would not be possible. I use the term people [pueblo] when the citizens of a country behave like a herd of cows or sheep or trained monkeys (thus Cubans). Only then can they be defined as a people. No country of free and equal citizens is a people. Peoples do not exist; the term people [or pueblo] is a sinister construct which converts persons and citizens into a mass, i.e. a homogeneous and tribal herd.

But what I wanted to say is that just as the Cuban people cannot hide behind the dictatorship and act innocent or like a victim, neither can the Spanish people hide behind Sánchez-Bildu-Iglesias and act innocent or like a victim. Just as the Cuban people is Castro, the Spanish people is Sánchez-Bildu-Iglesias.

There is nowhere to hide, Spanish people.

*N.B. Bildu is a leftist, separatist Basque nationalist political coalition.

1 thought on “Be very wary of ‘the people’”

  1. Roberto Luque Escalona, a Cuban writer and opinion journalist who was in Cuba during the Mariel crisis and witnessed the infamously vicious “actos de repudio” by “the people” against those who wanted to leave the country, later wrote a memorable phrase directed at such people:

    Son ustedes la más despreciable y repugnante gentuza que jamás plagó esta isla, y sus madres serán tachadas de putas sólo por el hecho de haberlos parido.

    It loses something in translation, but for those who need one, he wrote “You are the most contemptible and repugnant trash who ever plagued this island, and your mothers will be branded as bitches simply because they gave birth to you.”

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